3 Steps to improving your confidence

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

My stomach dropped. What did she just say? My boss had just indicated that she would like me to run some of the spirit lifters of a morning, pretty much the morning meeting with the clients of the program to get them motivated and inspired to take on the day. And regardless of having worked for 9 years with this service and having 10 years of experience in this industry I still freaked at the idea of speaking to a large group.

But why? Why with all the years of experience and knowledge I had I still went into a panic attack at the thought of having to speak publicly.

Well, I since learned that it pretty much came down to confidence. Confidence. That thing that you can tell when someone has it and when someone doesn’t (aka me).

But what is confidence? What does it let us do? How critical is it to well-being, success, happiness? Are we born with it? Or is it carefully grown with the right conditions?

What if I was to say that it isn’t that we don’t obtain the ability to be confident, but that we obtain the belief that we aren’t confident, and that that belief system is what stops us from ever becoming confident. And it's not surprising that many of us don't have much confidence, especially when the society that we live in today pressures us to achieve everything, have everything, and be everything, we end up thinking we're not enough. Women and men are shown the most unrealistic things and told “This. This is the standard”. If we speak our thoughts over social media we are shut down by people thousands of miles away who don’t even know us. We are terrified of getting something wrong that we don’t even try.

And this is why we fail to develop confidence within ourselves because we developed a belief system that says we shouldn't be confident.

So what can we do? Well, one effective approach looks at intentionally changing the way we think. Research shows that we can change our brains in ways that affect our thoughts and behaviour at any age. And think about it, confidence is merely a subjective thought we have about ourselves. It’s not factual, it hasn’t been proven in some lab experiment, it’s not genetic strand that can be tested for, it’s merely a thought. A thought that you developed about yourself and a result of all the not so great experiences you had through life. Now the best part is that confidence can be improved through thought and belief work. Thought and belief work are merely exercises that work on identifying, addressing, and changing your thoughts and beliefs about yourself. So let’s have a look at some simple steps that you can implement to improve your confidence.

  1. Identify negative thought patterns. The first step you need to carry out is identifying what negative thoughts and beliefs are happening for you that relate to your ability to carry out tasks, speak confidently, do your job, parent, or any other relevant area of your life. They could be straight-up “I can’t do this” thoughts or more subtle ones such as “I’m okay I guess”.

  2. Assess and evaluate. Now once you have identified this thought or belief think back to when you first had it. Was it linked to a bad experience, did someone tell you this? How old were you? Now ask yourself how true is this? What evidence is there to support it? How factual is it? Pretty much what evidence is there to support that this negative thought or belief is the real truth?

  3. Replace. Okay so now that we have established that 99.9% of those negative thoughts or beliefs didn’t have any factual evidence to support and that it’s only ourselves who thought it was true, we can go ahead and replace it with a thought that is going to serve you. You are going to replace it with a thought that feeds and builds your confidence in a healthy way. Once you have that thought you're going to tell yourself this on a daily basis. You need to be consistent with this activity because we are replacing a thought or belief that has been occurring for years, so stick to it and I assure you your confidence will improve.

So fast forward to having implemented this skill for only a few months and I can happily share that I no longer freeze up at the thought of having to speak to groups.

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